- continued -

10) Tokonoma in the tea-room "taishido", early 19th century, Keieiji, Nagoya. The floor of the tokonoma is slightly elevated. The frame is of natural, unplaned wood. The front pole is usually uneven: contrast of a puritan geometry! (acc. to Yoshida 1935)

11) The feudal period in Japan has tightened and politically integrated into the feudal palaces the cultic hierarchies of space that characterise the Japanese house. The illustration shows a higher-class farmer-samurai seated in his best room in the place of honour before the cultic niche (tokonoma). Near him are seated visitors of the same rank. The room in front is one step lower. The next lower rank will sit on the veranda. Visitors of these three ranks are allowed to use the main door of the house. Servants have to enter through the garden-door and to offer their services kneeling on the ground in front of the veranda. The most respected of them is allowed to kneel on a mat (acc. to Eder 1963).

12) Schematic representation of of a simplified basic type of Japanese farm-house with cultplaces and cult-markers (Rendering of the author)

X     horizontal and vertical thresholds between sacred and profane           
a     sacred space of the roof 
b     cultic decoration of the cult-pillar 
c     "board of the gods" (kamidana) with cultic rope 
d     shrines with cultic decoration 
e     buddhistic altar 
f     open fireplace with hierarchy of seats 
g     cult pillar with cultic decorations and board for offerings 
h     sacred upper part of the basic plan 
i     working room and kitchen 
k     hearth 
l     cult places of the hearth god 
m     entrance of the house with cult-rope 
n     New Year's decoration of the entrance gate with cult rope 
o     cultic marker of the "deitiy of the courtyard" (yashiki gami)
p     cultic delimitation made of four bamboo stalks and cultic rope
q     Shinto altar with cult objects and sacrificial offerings

13) At the place where water flows into the house a New Year's altar is erected for the >water-deity< (mizugami). A rice mortar (uzu) is reversed and on its top rice cakes are offered (acc. to Ogawa 1954).

14) Farmhouse of the type whith a big living room (oie, oe, chanoma) around the open hearth (irori) which is sunk into the planked floor. On the right the large working space on the ground (doma) with kitchen and cooking-hearth (kama) and at the right the horse-stable. Standing between doma and upper living room is the cult pillar for Daikoku and Ebisu (daikokubashira). In the rear corner the buddhistic altar (butsudan). On the "board for the gods" (kamidana) various Shinto cult places marked by small shrines (yashiro) and designated with the corresponding cult-system are shown (acc. to Eder 1963)

15) Every year in a village close to the town of Okayama (Okayama Prefecture) two halves of the village each choose a child by drawing lots. In its district each child will become the "main person" (tojin) of the annual festival of the communal village deity (ujigami). The two chosen children are considered to be holy and will be served by their parents in the ceremonial room. At the end of the rites and ceremonies, which last 3 weeks, a cultic "original hut" (o- hake) is erected temporarily in the front garden of each of these two houses. Presided over by the holy children, sacrificial ceremonies take place in front of these huts. At the end the cultic huts are taken down and rebuilt behind the corresponding farm houses, where they are left to decay.

16) At the great New Year's festival (geta matsuri) on the small "island of the gods" (Kamishima), a large ring is made of branches and wrapped in white paper to become the sacred seat (yorishiro) of the deity of the New Year. On the morning of New Year's day this ring represents the rising sun. For the big festival banquet at night, for which the whole village assembles in the same house (toya), the holy object is set up in front of the tokonoma. Like a king the eldest man of the house presides over the banquet supported by the sanctity of the holy ring and the sacred place: the house becomes a temporary palace.

17) Town festival of the Omihachiman-shrine of Mino (Gifu Prefecture). Over 40 mobile shrines are decorated as "flower- palanquins" (hana-mikoshi); these are carried to the central shrine of the town by ecstatic processions of young men from several districts. With the flexible bamboo-strip construction bursting out of the roof of the mobile shrine, ancient prebuddhistic archetypes find temporary expression. The huge umbrella decorated with red paper unites those who are carrying their god (acc. to gurafusha).

18) Here the ritual demarcation is shown with considerable dimensions. The two thinner columns imply the gate, the large one represents the house. At the end of the festival all markers are ritually burnt (Wakayama prefecture)

19) Before the spring sowing the field god (ta no kami) is taken from the wooded hills behind the village and brought into the house where he is set up in the cult niche (tokonoma) and offered a small banquet. Then he is brought to a particular place in the fields where he will guard the rice seedlings during the warm period of the year. In autumn the same procedure is celebrated in reverse sequence (acc. to Gurafusha 1970, Kagoshima pref.)

Next part 3
Back to main text, part 1,2,3
Back to homepage